Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Book Review

 


Secondhand Souls (Grim Reaper, #2)Book Genre: Fantasy, Humor, Paranormal 

Book Series: Grim Reaper #2

Released: 8/25/15 by William Morrow

Pages: 335 Price: $26.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can’t be good—in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore’s delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job.

Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host.

To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind…

My Review:

Earlier this year I listed to the first book in this short series, A Dirty Job, and quite liked it.  Decided to put book two on my wish list at my library and this week it became available. I was a bit hesitant when starting this book as a good chunk of the reviews are less than favorable over on Goodreads.  Since I needed something to listen to while working on a project and this book looking the most promising of those available to me I decided to give it a shot.

I’m glad I did because I thought it was a charming little story.  Most of the characters I loved in the first book were back and we got to deal with the leftover issue of what happen to Charlie.  It is the characters that make this world for me. Their quirkiness, the foul language, and even the stereotypes have grown on me.  Again there was a pleasant mix of humor, drama, and mystery to keep me listening.  In fact, this is perhaps one of the fastest listens I have experienced with an audiobook.  Partially due to its length but mostly due to the story kept me coming back.

Only having read/listened to two of this author’s books I can not say if this is typical of his style or not.  If it is, though, I can tell there are plenty of good books waiting for me to make time for them.  The style is a little quirky and way snarky in dialog but a whole lot of fun.  Not a lot I can find fault with in this one.  Maybe a little heavy-handed with the language at times, definitely not safe for work or children of any age.  I liked it but didn’t love it so it gets the same rating as the first book in the series.  This one feels like a finally but if another shows up in this world I will make room for it on my to-read shelf.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Month in Review: November 2016

Month in Review

Read this month: 5  Books, 1305 Pages 

Read this year: 57  Books, 18,151 Pages 

2 B R 0 2 B The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1) Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi Lucifer (Vampires in America, #11) How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #1)

Looking Back:

Another month where I didn’t get in as much reading as I had hoped to.  Husband had two weeks off this month, one was taken up by searching for a new car and the other was spent trying to get as many products listed on eBay as possible to pay for said car.  Of what I read I enjoyed so perhaps I need to focus on quality instead of quantity.  I have already read enough books to count one per week and that is more than the vast majority of the public reads in a year, so let’s just call it good and try to do better moving forward.

Looking Ahead:

I am going to continue to try to keep an audiobook going all the time.  When it is quiet at work, driving, or working on chores I can still get some reading, or listening, in.  I have three review books to get in for the year.  One non-fiction about politics, a read-now selection that I’m not too excited about but plan to finish, and a book that a publisher gave me for answering a questionnaire.  That last one I’m not too excited about because it isn’t something I would normally pick up or request.  I’m willing to give it the standard 50-page try, though.  I’m not sure what plans I will be making reading wise for the next year.  I think this keeping the pressure off is a bit of a double-edged sword.  I don’t have any deadline motivation or challenge motivation but I tend to enjoy more of what I read.  I might try to make a dent in my to-read bookcase.  There are some complete or almost complete series on there that I could sell on eBay after I read them.  Book sets do remarkably well on the site.  Well, that’s it for the month.  I hope you all have a great holiday season.

Happy Reading ~Amy

2BR02B By Kurt Vonnegut

Book Review

 


2 B R 0 2 BBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Classic, Short Story

Book Series: N/A

Released: January 1962

Pages: 28  Price: 99 Cents E-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut is a science fiction story that focuses on a society where individuals have an indefinite lifespan and the population of the United States is limited to forty million.

In order for a new birth to take place, someone else must die. The suspense builds as two parents wait for someone to dial 2 B R 0 2 B, which is the telephone number to dial for an assisted suicide with the Federal Bureau of Termination.

My Review:

Was looking for a new audiobook to listen to and came across this one that I added to my wish list sometime last year.  Couldn’t remember what it was about so I decided to pop over to Goodreads for a reminder.  Seeing that it was only 28 pages long I decided to borrow and read it this afternoon as I am currently not feeling well.  This was an interesting little story that I did not realize was written so long ago, the topic is still relevant to modern society after all.

Quite strange, a little dark, and a tad simplistic if you ask me.  Not quite sure if the author is trying to mock the extreme government control he saw coming or mock those that see the great danger of overpopulating the planet.  Then again he might have been nothing but sincere and wanted to warn people of what might come if the human race does not change our ways.  Some of the off-putting tones might simply be the fact that it was written in a different era….

Anyway, if you can’t tell I am unsure how I feel about this one, but that just might be because my stomach hurts.  It was interesting like I said, short so no matter your stance on topics like abortion, death, over-population you this story won’t be with you long. It will remind you what we are doing to our one and only planet though and what our freedom to over-reproduce might cost us in the end.  Dark read for a dark mood.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Boldly Go Shopping

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

November 29: Holiday Gift Guide freebie (ten books to buy the YA lover in your life, 10 books to buy for your dad, etc.)

My husband, I do not exchange gifts with each other or anyone else, so I have for several years now not had to actually shop for anything this time of year.  So sometimes it is fun to think about what I might get a such and such person or ask for myself.  I’ve decided to play this list a little selfishly and head over to Barnes and Noble to see what I might find for a Trekkie on their site.  I am not going to limit myself to simply books, the list will be book heavy, though,  but just go through the 2900+ items they have to offer when you search for Star Trek and see what I might enjoy receiving as a gift or give to a fellow fan of the franchise.  So, shall we begin?

Ten books gifts that I might buy a Trekkie over at B&N

 

  1. Star Trek beyond Movie Star Trek Beyond $14.99: Let’s start with the movie that came out this year.  It’s now out on DVD and Blue Ray.  I already own this little gem so this is one I might buy for a fellow Trekkie.
  2. 2017 Star Trek Poster Wall Calendar 2017 Star Trek Poster Wall Calendar $13.67: I have turned my upstairs hallway into a display center for all my Trek paraphernalia and this wall calendar would fit in nicely.  After the year is up I would so have all the prints framed for my wall too.
  3. Star Trek: The Original Series Adult Coloring Book Star Trek: TOS Adult Coloring Book $14.99: I must confess that I’m not really on board with this coloring trend.  I’m sorry but you end up spending half the time sharpening your pencil with all those tiny little spaces to fill in…  This would totally be the exception to the rule, though, this TOS coloring book would be so cool to have.  They also offer The next generation coloring book if you like that series better.  I would happily accept or give either.
  4. Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek $13.17: One of the things that had always fascinated and drawn me to Trek is the Utopian society where everyone works for the betterment of themselves and society.  All needs are met and there is no financial inequality.  Trek has shown me a better way and this book would be a fascinating read.
  5. The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years The Fifty-Year Mission $19.97: What Trekkie wouldn’t love to learn all the ins and outs of their favorite franchise.  I know I would love this and the second book delving into the second 25 years of Trek.
  6. The Klingon Dictionary The Klingon Dictionary$12.70: Okay, now I don’t think I would ever go so far as to learn to speak Klingon but wouldn’t it be a hoot to look up and learn all the swear words to use in everyday conversation.
  7. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Spock Bobble Head Spock Bobble Head $14.95: Yes, please.  I want a Spock Bobble Head for my very own.  Or you could get any one of the other favorite characters for the Trekkie in your life.
  8. Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man $16.44: This one is on my to-read shelf.  If you haven’t guessed, Spock is my favorite character, and it would be touching to read about Leonard Nimoy from the insight only Shatner could provide.  LLAP.
  9. Redshirts $11.76: Now this isn’t a Star Trek item but it is a fabulous parody of the Trek franchise and any Trekkie is bound to love this story.  I did and had to go out to make it my very own.  Great read!
  10. Star Trek: The Classic Episodes (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) $22.50: Why not a collector addition of TOS episodes in story format.  This would hold an honored place on the shelf of any Trekkie.

Well, there you have my suggestion list of gift items for the Trekkie in your life.  I’m sure there are plenty more out there an Enterprise coffee cup or model, a complete set of their favorite show, all the movies, etc.  This is simply some fun items I found over at Barnes & Noble.  The prices might not be current as I made this list on Cyber Monday and I think they had a sale going on. Live Long and Prosper and have a great holiday shopping season everyone!

Monday Morning Check-In: Gone Nucular

Monday Morning Check-In

Hello, my name is Amy and I have a social media, stress, and bad attitude problem.  I waste entirely too much time on Facebook, Youtube, and news sites.  So for the rest of the year, I am grounding myself from these daily distractions in hopes that I will become more productive and less stressed.  The constant following of politics, current events and keeping up with my Facebook feed simply adds to my stress and keeps me in this gloom I’ve found myself in.  So two days ago I decided to take a break from them for the rest of the year and just focus on our eBay sales, work, and my reading/blog.  I am not a fan of this time of year anyway and seeing everyone celebrate the holidays on Facebook simply exasperated the hard feelings, so this year I’m not, I’m signing off.  That way I don’t have to be a wet blanket and feel guilty for being so negative or put out there a false image of someone who is happy and thankful for so much when quite frankly I’m not feeling it this year.  The second half of 2016 sucked and I’m ready for it to be over.

Of course, I broke my new rule the first and second day so I have gone nuclear.  I downloaded a chrome extension to block the sites that I am trying to avoid as well as deleting the links from my phone.  I’m not going to let myself cheat.  I’m not.  Hopefully… Finger’s crossed.  It’s only one month after all.  It’s not like I’m giving up these sites forever.  I just need a break.  I am way too stressed lately and all the negativity in the news and resentment of happy well-adjusted families is making that worse.  So I wish all my friends the best and I hope they have a magical holiday season and are surrounded by their loved ones. I do,  I truly wish you the best.  I just don’t need to witness it this year.  I need some me time and husband time to try to get my head back on straight.

So what does this mean for the blog?  Hopefully, it means I will be bringing you more reviews and blog posts on time as I have done away with my worst distractors.  I still plan to share pictures through Instagram if you follow me over there.  Monday Morning Check-In and Top Ten Tuesday will also continue as planned.  I am also trying to think of a 365 something for next year.  Not sure if it will be blog related or just Instagram yet.  I don’t think I am up to doing a blog post every day, but I might be up for an Instagram post a day.  Maybe a featured book from my home library or a picture of the same spot for a year.  I’m not sure but if you have an idea feel free to share it in the comments.  I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and I look forward to being more focused this December and hopefully bringing you more book reviews.  Happy Reading!

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian, Fantasy, Audiobook

Book Series: Fourth Realm #1

Released: 7/18/2006 by Vintage

Pages:  464 Price: $15.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In London, Maya, a young woman trained to fight by her powerful father, uses the latest technology to elude detection when walking past the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim’s own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, Gabriel, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past, takes pains to live “off the grid” – free of credit cards and government IDs. Welcome to the world of The Traveler – a world frighteningly like our own.In this compelling novel, Maya fights to save Gabriel, the only man who can stand against the forces that attempt to monitor and control society. From the back streets of Prague to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, The Travelerportrays an epic struggle between tyranny and freedom. Not since 1984 have readers witnessed a Big Brother so terrifying in its implications and in a story that so closely reflects our lives.

My Review:

With the populous, anti-establishment mood of the country, this book was a fitting for not only my current mood but the climate in which I find myself living in.  This work of fiction was written in 2006,  a couple of years before the great crash in the last years of the Bush Presidency and before Obama took office.  Having just woken up to the systematic corruption of both political parties so much of what this book talks about, albeit fictionally, rings true to the society we now find ourselves living in.  A world where we are controlled and manipulated all to wring the highest profit for those that control all branches of government with their donations.

Okay, all of that aside, this was a thrill ride of a story that felt like a cross between The Matrix, The Da Vinci Code, and a James Bond film.  You get rich characters, secret societies, conspiracy theories, action, and a little mysticism to boot. Spanning Europe and the United States we follow the main characters Maya, Gabriel, and Micheal as they are thrust into this secret world going on around them as they discover plots and corruption as they race to protect Gabriel and Micheal who might be the last Travelers in existence and seek vengeance for those that they have lost.

I’m glad I listened to this one for the introduction and ending interview with the author which I found just as interesting as the story itself.  Granted I think the ploy of writing this under a pen name is just that a ploy to attract attention, I have to say it worked on me.  It added to the mystery and cloak and dagger feel of this story.  Convincing me to take a moment and actually think about the themes talked about in this work of fiction and wonder what might actually apply to the world we now live in.  Sadly I think many of those themes are probably pretty applicable and it makes me want to fight the system.

Bottom line this was a good book with an entertaining story that might make you think a bit afterward.  Even if you don’t buy into the conspiracy theory aspect it is still a good listen, especially if you like books by Dan Brown or David Baldacci or even the dystopian genre with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.  I eagerly await the next title in this trilogy that I have put on hold with my library.  I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Bookish Thoughts: So Shiny

Bookish Thoughts

I may be requesting fewer review books through Net Galley but that doesn’t mean I don’t log in and check the new titles twice daily, once in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Today when I logged on to see what was new I noticed something on my dashboard.  This
Reviews Published

I earned a shiny new badge to go along with the five others they have awarded me.  This one means that at least three of my reviews have been featured on their title’s info page by the publisher.  Now I know, this is simply arbitrary rewards given by the company to encourage us to review…  Still, I’m excited as this is one that I was actually coveting.  So.  Yay me and thanks to the publishers for the books to review and then appreciating my feedback.  It is always nice to feel like the time and effort you put into a passion is noticed.  My next goal is to earn the 200 reviews badge.  Only 70 more books to go.

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful for Reading

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

November 22: Thanksgiving freebie — tell us what you are thankful for! Books you are thankful for!

Since I missed last week due to being busy I didn’t want to miss this week’s list as well, so I am carving out time to quickly write-up the reasons I am thankful that I am a reader, even if I haven’t been reading as much as I want to recently…

Ten reasons I’m thankful that I’m a reader.

  1. Escape: Books are the perfect escape from life, from stress, from responsibility.  This is probably the main reason I am a reader.  It is also the reason I read the books I tend to read.  I want to explore new ideas, new concepts of reality, deal with problems that couldn’t occur in my normal day-to-day life.  I want to leave my world behind and find some place else to hide out for a few hours.
  2. Mood Changer: Feeling sad? Depressed? Lonely?  Reading has the power to help lift you out of your current mood and totally change your attitude.  Pick up a fluffy romance to brighten your day.  Or something heavier to reassure you that your problems could be much worse.  A sappy tear-jerker so you can finally cry it all out and move on with your life.  Books have to power to help you express what you are feeling inside.
  3. Hope: Books can also inspire, help remind you of just how great society can be.  They can show you a world that could be, something to shoot for, a goal for the life you want to build.
  4. Empathy: Reading fiction also makes you more empathetic.  It lets you try on someone else’s shoes for a bit and gain a new perspective on life.
  5. Vocabulary: Now I don’t always demonstrate this, but I love how reading expands one’s vocabulary.  Something that often irks non-readers to no end.  I’m not using ‘big’ words to make you feel bad (okay, maybe a bit…), mostly though I just like using a rich and diverse vocabulary to express myself.  I tend to go through words of the moment, thought, where suddenly start using the same word everywhere, on Facebook, the blog, Instagram, emails…  Sometimes repetitively in the same post even.  I’m trying to break myself of that but often it slips my notice, so sorry.
  6. No commercials: Books are entertainment without commercials, without interruption, portable, no batteries necessary (for print versions).
  7. Never Bored: If you are a reader you are never bored. (reading slump exceptions aside).  If you have access to books you can always find some book to fit your current mood.
  8. Relaxation: Reading is a great way to relax.  Goes along with number one on this list, but if I can’t get some reading in my stress levels just keep going up. I need some time in the pages to unwind and let everything go.  Reading is my me-time.
  9. Interesting: I also believe that reading makes you a more interesting person.  It for all the reasons above and more.  Reading opens you up to new ideas and topics.  Reading helps round out a personality and can give you a passion that you can share with the world.
  10. Friendship: While reading tends is an activity that is done alone it can also lead to great friendships.  Books help us break down barriers and find connection with others that share our love and interest.  Even if you don’t read the same you can still bond over the love of reading.  Reading, blogging, and reviewing has helped me form friendships that I might not have otherwise and for that I will forever be immensely grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Reading.

Monday Morning Check-In: Reading slowing down…

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday morning everyone,  I am actually typing this up and getting it posted in the morning, on Monday!  Yay, me.  Looks like the husband will be home all week again as the factory where he works decided to do a temp layoff instead of having everyone come in for just three days this week. I believe they did this last year too.  Not a huge deal but still kind of sucks.  We are going to take this opportunity to do some more repairs around the house and post items to eBay as I also work less this week.  That means I might not get a ton of reading done this week.  I am going to type up my Top Ten Tuesday next so it is ready to go, sorry for missing last week, I was still dealing with car drama.  I have been working on an audiobook while at work as I accomplished non-blog chores and hope to get that reviewed for you this week.  I did finish an ARC last week but needed to hold the review until a little closer to the review date.

Anyway,  I hope life returns to some resemblance of normal soon so I can get back into the swing of things with the blog and be reading.  I hope those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving have a good holiday Thursday and to the rest simply have a great week.  Happy reading!

ARC Lucifer by D.B. Reynolds

Book Review

 


Lucifer (Vampires in America, #11)Book Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Vampires in America #11

Released: 11/18/16 by ImaJinn Books

Pages: 298  Price: $7.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

Book Synopsis:

Montreal, Quebec . . . A charming city on the St. Lawrence River, historic, sophisticated, but beneath it all lies an extensive underground where treacherous vampires are plotting to seize the country.

Lucifer Scuderi is a vampire—handsome and charismatic, a powerful hunter of unusual skill—who arrives in Montreal to take on the most important hunt of his life. Someone has kidnapped the mate of Canada’s ruling vampire lord, and it’s up to Lucifer to find him before his death sets off a crisis that could engulf the entire continent.

Eleanor Morel lost everything—including the love of her life—when she became a vampire. But now, twenty years later, she’s a trusted bodyguard to the Canadian lord, Sophia, and the only person Sophia can count on to lead the search for her endangered mate. But what Eleanor doesn’t know is that the special hunter she’ll be working with is none other than her long-lost love. And he’s demanding answers.

Lucifer’s love for Eleanor burns as hot as his anger towards her for leaving him. But they’ll have to find a way to set history aside and work together if they’re going to unravel the twisted betrayal that threatens not only Sophia and her mate, but the whole continent. Because the European vampires are on the move. And if Canada falls, the rest of North America could follow . . .

My Review:

Book number eleven in this series I adore brings us back to Canada to deal with Lord Sophia’s missing mate.  He has been kidnapped by the European vampires who are becoming ever more bold in their attempt to claim this continent for their own.  While I love this author and series I have to say this book wasn’t my favorite in the series.  I would have to say it fits in with other books I didn’t care for in the series, books 3-5.  Still committed to this world just didn’t care for Sophia’s drama I guess…

So what went wrong for me. The book had a different feel to it as we gear up to travel to Europe and take the war to those vamps on their home turf.  I did like Lucifer and Eleanor but struggled to build a connection with them.  I also didn’t care for the flashbacks.  I know they were necessary to build the history between these two, but I’m usually not a fan of them when they are used in any book/series I’m reading.  I just don’t care for the jumping back and forth in time.  A few are okay but this story had quite a few flashbacks in the first 50 pages and it didn’t agree with me.  As we move into the current action they decrease and I was finally able to get into the story.

Most of this book I wanted to follow two threads; how were they going to rescue the mate and how were they going to work it out for these two lost loves to stay together.  I’m not going to spoil anything but it did work out nicely and I appropriated how things played out.  Having just read Aden’s story I did enjoy revisiting this character, even if he didn’t get a lot of page time.

If you are a fan of the series I would NOT miss this book.  Don’t skip it.  If you’ve not tried this world yet start back at book one and enjoy the ride.  I’m glad I read this one, even if it wasn’t my favorite.  Looking forward to the next.  I’m curious to see how the series shifts as we journey to Europe and kick some ass over there.  Its time to take this war to them instead of waiting for the attack at home.  Should be good!

My Rating:3 Stars